We are a party of 3 and have already booked our flights for next May 2013. We are needing the cheapest train travel information for point-to-point prices and how far in advance to purchase these type of tickets? Already seen on this website that railpasses are more expensive. Just want to make sure we get to our destination on these dates. Don't have hotels booked yet either for London, Paris or Rome so any good suggestions would be appreciated. Need to book on websites that are able to give free cancellations with no fees. Would like to be close to sites of interest that are not too expensive but safe. We are located in the USA. Here is our itinerary: Amsterdam to London: 15-May-2013 London to Paris: 18-May-2013 Paris to Interlaken (Switzerland): 20-May-2013 Interlaken to Rome: 23-May-2013
The Man in Seat 61 can help guide you about European rail services. Bear in mind that schedules for the time frame you want will not be out till this winter and not open for booking until a few months out. http://www.seat61.com/ For Amsterdam lookinto houseboat rentals for a a different sort of stay and as to the rest RS Guides are reasonable suggestions.
Geographically it would be more efficient for you to visit Paris after Amsterdam (via the Thalys high-speed train http://www.thalys.com), and then on to London via the Chunnel Train: http://tinyurl.com/chunnel-train. From London fly to Zurich. There is a train station at Zurich Airport with connections to Interlaken. For Swiss Rail schedules head here: http://rail.ch Be advised that you can't book rail tickets until 90 days before departure. Ideally you should have flown into London instead of Amsterdam, but you said you already booked your flights.
The Eurostar trains between London and Paris (which you will also use from Amsterdam to London) start booking 120 days before travel, so you need to book those legs at that time.
I "second" Michael's suggestion to go Amsterdam to Paris to London,then fly to Switzerland. But this is a pretty rushed itinerary with a lot of moving around. I am going to make a suggestion that may not fulfill all your travel dreams but will save you a lot of money and give you more meaningful time in the places you visit: Skip London. It is very expensive, and the 3 nights you have each place are not enough given the time you will spend in transit between. If you skip London, you can add a night to Paris, then train to Interlaken( suggest you stay in Lauterbrunnen instead). Then add a stop for one night or two between Interlaken and Rome to break up the journey. And add a night to Roms if yup have one left.
Some good advice here, I especially hope you consider Sasha's re skipping London. I'm sure this will be controversial but you'll have a better trip if you save London for another time. I guess you could cut out Rome instead. Similarly Interlaken is worth stopping to walk about and buy some food, but keep going. I'd say don't stop at Lauterbrunnen, though, sleep up in the mountains.
I agree with the above that you skip London to give you more time in Paris and Switzerland. Note that if you have a railpass, its not good in England nor on the Eurail train from London to Paris. Also note, the if you take the Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, the supplemental fee is one of the highest in Europe for railpass holders. You can buy a discounted ticket on the Thalys for less money than the supplemental fee alone. Plus, Thalys limits the seats to passholders. So do the French on their TGVs.
Keep your suggestions coming, I'm listening. I agree that it's a lot to do in a little time and I will consider not doing London. I would rather stay an extra night in Paris/Interlaken & Rome myself. Any suggestions on a good place to stay in Paris that is not expensive, and the same for Rome? We are flying back home from FCO airport in Rome. I haven't booked any hotels in London yet, but if we do decide to go, post some suggestions of places to stay that are reasonable. Thanks to all for your posts. Keep them coming. Have a great day.
Last summer we did Paris / Normandy / Gimmelwald / Fussen / Munich. We purchased a 3 country flex pass through the RS web site: http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/.htm. We were traveling with 6 and did a lot of research before leaving. The hotel in Paris we used for 3 nights (and would recommend) was the Hotel Muguet, near Rue Cler. Walking distance to Eiffel and close to Metro stop. We highly recommend a paid tour of Eiffel. We used skip the line, sunset tour via VIATOR. We stayed in Gimmelwald, but agree with earlier post. I would stay in Lauterbrunnen as a base and gondola into the villages of Murren and Gimmelwald. If you make it as far as Gimmelwald, have a drink or bite to eat at the Pension Gimmelwald and enjoy the best view on the planet. I wold imagine Interlaken to Rome will be all day travel with several train changes. (Maybe just Interlaken to Zurich and then Zurich to Rome?) On a previous trip to Italy we stayed 4 nights in a RS hotel: Hotel Oceania. Just remember 3rd floor really means the 4th. Consider private tour as well for Vatican Museum, or Ancient Rome.
Nellianne: My fear is that your trying to visit 5 places in 8 days will push you past the point of no return. You could easily spend a week in Amsterdam, London, Paris and Rome individually. You don't want your trip to be a blur. Amsterdam and Rome are your first and last stops, and they're not variable. You didn't say when you were leaving Rome. My suggestion is Day 1-3 in Amsterdam. Day 4 on train to Paris. Day 5 & 6 in Paris. Day 7 flying EasyJet.com to Rome. Spend rest of your time in Rome. For hotels and activities in Rome, see RonInRome.com for his suggestions. For rooms anywhere else, check Rick Steves' Heroic B&B's in his Graffiti to see if any B&B names pop up for where you're going. Otherwise, see Hotels.com, Booking.com, Venere.com or AirBnB.com for hundreds and hundreds of rooms available. May is a great time of the year for your trip.
Nelliane, I definitely agree with the others that it would be prudent to skip London on this trip, as you simply don't have enough time. The trip from Amsterdam to London and then London to Paris will EACH require the better part of a day, leaving little time for seeing London. As mentioned previously, use the Thalys (or other) high speed trains from Amsterdam to Paris. When buying tickets in Amsterdam Centraal, note that they ONLY accept "Chip & PIN" cards, so be sure to use cash. I'd suggest checking the Guidebooks for hotel suggestions in Paris. My preference is to stay in the Rue Cler area (close to the Eiffel Tower), and you might have a look at the websites for Hotel Duquesne Eiffel, Hotel du Cadran or Hotel Muguet. From Paris to Interlaken, the trip is as short as 5H:05M via TGV to Basel and then local trains to Interlaken. The TGV runs at up to 300 kmH, so it's a quick trip! Your departure station will likely be Gare de Lyon (there are about 6 rail stations in Paris) and your arrival station Interlaken Ost. If you decide to stay in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, you'll need to transfer to the local train for the short ride to Lauterbrunen. You could stay in Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, Gimmelwald or on the other side in Wengen or Grindelwald. Lauterbrunnen is about the most "central". From Interlaken to Rome, the trip will be as short as 6H:26M (departure at 07:29), with two changes in Spiez and Milan. You'll arrive at Roma Termini, the main station. The trip from there to your Hotel will depend on which part of Rome you're staying in. For the trip from Rome to FCO, the quickest method is the Leonardo Express (about 35M). DON'T forget to validate your ticket, or you'll likely face a €50 PP fine! Happy travels!
It has been months since poster was on this site, wonder if she is still there?
Probably not , but a good case study !
I enjoy all the feed back....